Christmas in London: The Magic of London at Christmas London at Christmas is like a waking dream. The streets shine with a thousand lights, and every street corner seems to tell a little festive story. The Christmas spirit envelops the city, making it even warmer and more welcoming.
The warmth of the atmosphere and the smiles offset the winter breeze, making every moment a precious memory. Let yourself be carried away by this whirlwind of joy and discover that London, is more beautiful and welcoming than ever during this festive period.
The best things to do in London at Christmas
London, with its world-famous sites, offers a dive into history at every turn. If you haven’t discovered them yet, they are among the essentials. Planning a winter getaway to London? Here are our suggestions to enrich your stay:
The best alternative Christmas markets in London
London lights up with festive markets at Christmas. Wherever you are, there is one near you. The biggest ones are in the city center, but for a more local touch, try the more low-key markets.
London’s great parks come alive with magic. The essential? Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park With its attractions and its festive atmosphere, it amazes young and old. Of course, it’s a little expensive, but the magic is omnipresent.
Feel the enchantment of Christmas by the river near London Bridge, or stroll through Leicester Square Market. For a European touch in the heart of London, the Kingston Christmas Market is a must.
For those looking for unique experiences, here are three suggestions for a memorable London adventure this holiday season:
1. Canopy Christmas Market (Christmas in London)
Immerse yourself in the magic of the Canopy Christmas Market, active from late November to late December. More than a market, it is a celebration of the festive season. Discover events like the Vegan Festival, surprises of all kinds, and a multitude of festive workshops.
Appreciate delicate handmade crafts and treat yourself to a variety of street food. To top it all off, explore the craft beer bar, natural wine bar, and artisan gin bar, each offering unique delights to savor.
2. Christmas at Kew
Far from the city center, Christmas at Kew Gardens is, for me, the most enchanting market. It runs from November 15 to January 7, so you have plenty of time to visit. A wonderful sanctuary of nature and calm all year, it transforms into something even more magical at Christmas.
Adorned with illuminations and sculptures, twinkling trees, and sparkling decorations, its light trail is the highlight. To be enjoyed after one or two mulled wines.
3. Greenwich Christmas Market (Christmas in London)
Christmas in London: With the illumination of Greenwich Market‘s Christmas lights on November 15, this year-round market is transformed into a place of festivities. Located near the Greenwich Meridian Line in a World Heritage Site, its more than 150 stalls are brimming with Christmas spirit. Find Christmas and London-themed gifts there, and immerse yourself in this historic part of the city.
The Best Festive Gathering Places in London
London, with its iconic locations such as Carnaby Street, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, and King’s Cross, lights up in a special way at Christmas. These places, already famous, put on their most beautiful luminous and festive adornments, offering a striking spectacle once night falls. Expect to discover impressive installations, live music, and performances by street artists.
But remember: where the lights shine, the crowds gather. In London during the holidays, this means busy streets. So, get ready to dive into this festive excitement!
Dining and shopping at Borough Market
Visiting Borough Market in London during the Christmas period is one of my must-dos, especially when the cold sets in. Sheltered under the market halls, a multitude of stalls await you, offering both festive products and fresh seasonal ingredients.
And if you feel a little hungry, you will be spoiled for choice among the gourmet stands, which offer delicious dishes, comforting coffee, and mulled wine. For oyster lovers, I particularly recommend Richard Haward’s Oysters, one of the best addresses in the city. Little advice: remember to have cash on you because many merchants do not accept cards.
Head east to Spitalfields and Shoreditch
Spitalfields and Shoreditch are gems of originality, bustling with pop-up initiatives, cool restaurants, unique boutiques, and exhibitions. These neighborhoods offer you a modern twist on traditional Christmas festivities. And for those who love Bengali cuisine, you will be in the right place.
From Spitalfields to Brick Lane, get lost in a maze of picturesque little streets. Stroll at your own pace, visiting local shops, exploring the markets, or stopping off in typical pubs. For music lovers, find rare vinyl and enjoy a live performance at the renowned Rough Trade East, nestled in the Old Truman Brewery.
And if the mix of dark history and good beer intrigues you, stop off at The Ten Bells pub, inseparable from the legends of Jack the Ripper.
The unmissable events of London’s winter
The best things to do in London at Christmas are often seasonal and therefore don’t last all year.
Skate on the UK’s largest ice rink
In London, winter rarely means frost, and long gone are the days when the Thames froze into an icy expanse. But don’t panic; the city is full of exceptional ice rinks ready to welcome you.
My favorite? Skate at Somerset House, with its magical atmosphere and flowing champagne. However, 2023 marks the grand premiere of Kensington Palace, proudly titled the largest ice rink in the United Kingdom. A perfect fusion between eco-responsibility and a great spectacle, imagine yourself sliding on a surface equivalent to a football field, all in a truly British setting. On the program: delicacies, shops, and a host of live events to spice up your outing.
Revel in the classics at a winter film festival
Winter is movie season in London, and the two most popular seasonal film festivals are hosted by Luna Winter Cinema and Skylight Christmas Cocktail Cinema.
The first is at Kensington Palace and Battersea Arts Centre; the second is at Tobacco Quay. Both offer a daily schedule of movies, epics, and lighter films, including many children’s films. You can get tickets for around $10.
Free things to do in London at Christmas
Known around the world for its magnificent museums, galleries, and architecture, London is the ultimate tourist destination. The holiday season is the perfect time to get lost, while other tourists are distracted by seasonal events. Many of them are free and offer hours of refuge from crowds and bad weather.
Christmas in London: The Natural History Museum is a treasure among museums, offering a fascinating insight into the history of our world. Its wonders include the majestic blue whale skeleton, Hope, which dominates Hintze Hall.
Right next door, the Science Museum amazes young and old with its interactive exhibitions.
Don’t miss the British Museum, a journey through two million years of human history. Its architecture alone, with its impressive glass roof, is worth the detour, without forgetting the emblematic Reading Room.
The icing on the cake? Entrance to these museums is free. Plan a day if you want to explore them thoroughly.
Art galleries crossing genres
Art lovers will find what they are looking for in London’s three major art galleries, all of which are accessible free of charge.
The National Gallery, overlooking Trafalgar Square, invites you on a journey through time. Home to thousands of paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries, you will admire icons like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or the touching scene from The Execution of Lady Jane Grey.
After a metamorphosis in 2023, the National Portrait Gallery shines brightly. It reveals one of the most extensive collections, ranging from old engravings to contemporary photographs.
Finally, along the Thames, the Tate Modern imposes its silhouette. This former industrial building houses a range of modern and contemporary works. As you stroll through its rooms, you will discover emblematic pieces, making this visit a highlight of your stay in London.
Unusual activities to do in London at Christmas
Christmas in London: London at Christmas is a kaleidoscope of experiences, too numerous to summarize in a few lines. But for those looking for unique and unexpected adventures, the British capital is full of surprises off the beaten track.
Snowboarding and skiing
Well, it’s not exactly in London, but rather in its surroundings. Just north of London in Hemel Hempstead, the Snow Center is an indoor real snow slope for skiers and snowboarders. The 160-meter main piste can’t compete with an alpine descent, but it’s the best you’ll find in England! As Christmas approaches, snow parties are even organized there.
Adopt a London tradition
It may seem unexpected, but the annual Christmas Eve auction at Smithfield Meat Market is an iconic London event. She gives us a unique insight into the friendliness and eccentricity of London. In a bright and festive atmosphere, the turkeys fly from one hand to the other according to the auctions won. Vigilance is required in this lively ballet, where Christmas carols and bursts of laughter mingle.
After a pause due to the pandemic, 2023 marks the joyful rebirth of this picturesque tradition and promises to be a memorable year to participate. A true dive into the festive and warm spirit of London, this celebration is not to be missed.
Take part in a pantomime
Christmas in London: In London, theaters go above and beyond to offer exuberant pantomimes during the Christmas season. These shows, vibrant and unpredictable, reinvent traditional theater for generally hilarious moments. Choose a family show or dare to venture into daringly nasty and irreverent performances for more adult entertainment.
The 2023 season promises to be sumptuous with the presence of renowned actors. Peter Pan enchants the Palladium stage while “A Christmas Carol” resonates at the Old Vic. The enthusiasm is such that tickets are sold quickly despite the abundance of performances. Do not hesitate to consult the programs and reserve your places as soon as possible. Furthermore, London is full of small theaters that offer a multitude of pantomimes, alternatives that are ever more affordable and often more intimate and captivating.
Even more things to do in London all year round
Christmas in London: For memorable family outings in London, the city’s many museums open their doors to you, revealing fascinating collections suitable for all ages.
The emblematic monuments of London, for their part, invite you to immerse yourself in history and grandiose architecture for moments of discovery and wonder shared with your family.
Also Read The Magic of the Christmas Markets in Berlin in 2023:https://shamelesstravels.com/the-magic-of-the-christmas-markets-in-berlin-in-2023/